Stage 5, the final stage in my final project, will consist of presenting my project to my class and recording some of the reactions in this post (which I will later consider in more detail and respond to if I feel it necessary).
I had considered having Dad engage in a Skype video chat with the whole class as part of the presentation so that everyone could ask him some questions…but I feel as though I have taken up enough of Dad’s time and patience over the past week. I’m sure he would have been glad to do it, but I have decided to ‘let him off the hook,’ so to speak.
For my final presentation, I took the class on a visual tour of my most recent blog posts (Stage 1 – Stage 5), explaining the process that my dad and I went through over the past week. I concluded my presentation by playing the YouTube video I created from my Skype chat with Dad.
I received quite a bit of positive feedback from my classmates, with a majority of the comments sharing a similar theme of appreciation for the provision of a glimpse into my personal relationship with my dad. I was pleased to have been able to balance this aspect of my final project with my recently acquired knowledge on digital storytelling. I was also appreciative of having been able to use the digital storytelling format as a means of creating my final project on the same topic.
My professor’s question, following the conclusion of my presentation, was “What did you learn about digital storytelling?” I responded that I learned how much of a process it is. Determining what format to use to disseminate the work, when/where to input images, video, audio, etc., and how to translate the experiences my dad and I shared on the phone into text all required some extensive thought. It simply is not the same as reading a story in a book, or hearing a story from a person face-to-face. Additionally, I had to remain constantly aware of how I was using all of the information I was collecting throughout the experience in an effort to avoid exploiting or embarrassing my dad in the process. While I was initially apprehensive about this, as I went through the process with my dad, I realized how much of a willing participant he was being; and his enthusiasm for what he was gaining from the process soon began to outweigh these apprehensions. Finally, I was somewhat worried that because my dad and I were both aware of the fact that this project was for school, (and was therefore framed as a serious/professional academic pursuit), both of us would be a bit too aware of the camera’s presence during our Skype conversation and come off as insincere, disingenuous, or inhibited. As it turned out, we were both very natural once we began our video chat, probably as a result of the first several minutes of our conversation which consisted of us “just shootin’ the s%*t,” as my dad would say.
All in all, I must say that this experience of learning by doing with regards to the digital storytelling process has been the best mode for gaining an understanding of what digital storytelling really is. I’m quite pleased that I decided to produce a digital story, rather than to comment on digital storytelling as a concept, because I gained a working-knowledge of the process. Had I written a traditional academic paper on the topic of digital storytelling, I would have missed out on this experience (and I would have felt irresponsible, or lacking in integrity for writing about a process in which I had never participated). It is certainly obvious that what distinguishes digital storytelling from other forms of storytelling is the use of digital tools, but that understanding is elementary when compared to the intimate understanding of the process that one can gain by participating in the production of these stories.
As a result of my participation in this project, and this class in general, I feel confident that I will not only continue to blog, but that I will utilize my newly acquired skills in editing, production, and visual analysis by producing visual media for future academic, professional and even personal ventures.
In conclusion, I would like to thank my dad for all of his participation, patience, enthusiasm, and openness throughout this process. I would also like to thank Dr. Juhasz and my classmates for their support, guidance, and input, throughout the semester, on this and other projects and assignments.